Parishes, health ministry elevate compassionate care of seriously ill

August 1, 2018 Julie Minda, www.chausa.org

Bishops in California, churches throughout the state and the state's two largest Catholic health systems are partnering to help ensure that people who are chronically and terminally ill get compassionate support from health providers and their church community.

California's Catholic bishops, along with Providence St. Joseph Health and Dignity Health created and are leading the Whole Person Care Initiative with the overarching goal of helping transform the way society cares for chronically and terminally ill people.

CHA is supporting the work and will help spread best practices developed in California into clinical and pastoral settings throughout the U.S.

The initiative is intended to promote a deeper understanding of Catholic teaching on end-of-life care among health care providers and parishioners and increase the level of spiritual and practical support parishioners and their loved ones receive in the course of chronic or terminal illness. It includes training for parish leaders and volunteers who minister to the sick on how to encourage and aid people in advance care planning and accessing support services in clinical and community settings.

Another goal is to prioritize and enhance palliative care in the treatment of people with late-stage disease and expand bereavement supports for people whose loved ones have died.

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